Published on Academy of American Poets (

Ode to Spring

I can only find words for.
And sometimes I can't.
Here are these flowers that stand for.
I stand here on the sidewalk.

I can't stand it, but yes of course I understand it.
Everything has to have meaning.
Things have to stand for something.
I can't take the time. Even skin-deep is too deep.

I say to the flower stand man:
Beautiful flowers at your flower stand, man.
I'll take a dozen of the lilies.
I'm standing as it were on my knees

Before a little man up on a raised 
Runway altar where his flowers are arrayed
Along the outside of the shop.
I take my flames and pay inside.

I go off and have sexual intercourse.
The woman is the woman I love.
The room displays thirteen lilies.
I stand on the surface.


From Poems 1959-2009 by Frederick Seidel. Copyright © 2009 by Frederick Seidel. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC, All rights reserved.


Frederick Seidel

Frederick Seidel was born in 1936 in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned

Date Published: 2009-01-01

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